Indonesia is doing a good job of navigating the global coffee industry and has found a home in Switzerland in the shape of Omnia Coffee, a coffee shop themed on the South-East Asian country. Their location in Zürich is around the corner from the city’s main train station, also where barista Alista Ponti is the owner. We caught up with Alista to learn more about her career in coffee and how this narrative can illuminate pathways for new joiners.
When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I’ve been fascinated with the industry for many years but only really started to get involved myself at the end of 2020. The passion for coffee came through my husband Martin who introduced me to the world of black gold and the culture of appreciating high quality coffee.
What's the status of specialty coffee in Zürich?
Well, the specialty coffee scene has become more and more dense in the city. In the last five years alone it has developed more than in decades before. People are getting more and more educated and start to appreciate specialty coffee. However as almost everything in a small country it is exceeded by my hometown Jakarta, but that is also what makes it kind of charming.
What types of people are suited to working in the industry?
Basically anyone with an interest in hospitality and a curiousness for sensory experiences I guess. Your job as barista is to make people happy drinking your coffee, not making people drink the coffee you like most.
If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
Well, I would say like anywhere start with the basics. The modules of the SCA Coffee Skills Program are certainly the best up-to-date coffee courses and will give you comprehensive knowledge in whatever field you are needing them. From there you will automatically focus on what interests you most or where you are best at.
Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
Again, visit the Specialty Coffee Associations’s website. There is tons of material with free access and links to other great blogs and sites. Besides that there are many YouTube channels worth following - one of my favourites is James Hoffmann's.
What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
I have still to learn a lot. I definitely want to get more SCA certifications done, improve my latte art, work on consistency. Have fun and enjoy coffees with our regular customers. Nothing better than to see them sip on a cup of coffee I made starting to smile and give me a thumb up appreciating my passion I just put into that product.
We already started to supply restaurants with our coffees, machines and equipment. Hopefully many to follow and helping to get more awareness of good coffee beyond coffee-focused restaurants. I’m especially proud to see that the coffee from my home country Indonesia is so well received here in Switzerland. Heavy bodied with sugar browning notes like Caramel, Hazelnut and Chocolate, clean but not too high acidity and working perfect with milk.